Movie review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

By Columbus Alive
From the June 21, 2012 edition

Some of my favorite dramas of the past year — “Melancholia,” “Take Shelter” — have toyed with apocalyptic themes. Now you can add a comedy to that list with “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.”

It may be too dark for some — not everyone may think the impending destruction of the world is comedy fodder — and too twee for others. I found the mix infinitely delightful.

With an asteroid en route to obliterate Earth, a lot of people are reevaluating their lives. Dodge (Steve Carell), not so much.

His wife has left him. He’s attending hedonistic end-of-the-world parties with middle-aged suburbanites (“You guys, look! Sarah and Dave brought heroin!”). Still, Dodge seems rather ho-hum about the whole affair.

An encounter with his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) unexpectedly sets Dodge off on a mission to find his high school sweetheart — with Penny as road-trip partner.

“Nick & Nora” scribe Lorene Scafaria makes her directorial debut a doozy. She blends gallows humor, existential dilemma and a sense of rom-com whimsy. And she and her stars just nail it.

The no-nonsense set-up (think “Zombieland”) gets to the good stuff. A scene set in a chain restaurant called Friendsy’s may be the comedy highlight of the year.

But there’s also a sweet, thoughtful story there with great characters. It’s an unexpected delight.